Guess what temperature it was here in the Anchorage area of Alaska yesterday? 0 degrees Fahrenheit. When I let Eira out in the morning to go potty, the clip on her lead was frozen. I had to rub it between my hands to melt the ice keeping it stuck together. I put water out for Eira just in case she needed it while she was out, and five minutes later when I went back to get her, the water was frozen. Eira’s eyelashes were rimmed in frost. Needless to say, she spent almost the whole day curled up in the house! When we left home, we kept her in her puppy playpen and she was a good girl and didn’t jump out into the rest of the house. It probably would’ve been okay if she had, but I have a deep-seated fear of her pooping on the couch after she pooped on the carpet twice.
Back to the cold. I’ve gone through three hand creams and none of them have kept my skin from chapping almost constantly. Everyone’s skin is dry, including Eira’s, and so I finally decided to try a few measures to make her more comfortable. She’s been scratching more, and she isn’t shedding. It’s way too cold for fleas. When I took a closer look at her skin, I noticed it looked whitish and flaky. Too dry!
Eira darts through the snow at our neighborhood park. She loves the winter wonderland, but we all agree that the cold is hard on the skin!
It’s best to attack dry skin from two angles: inside your dog via various oils and supplements, which we’ll discuss below, and on your dog’s exterior with the use of dry skin-specific dog shampoos and topical ointments.
Since it’s winter and lots of us are dealing with dry skin on our dogs right now, let’s get started on a list that’ll make everyone more comfortable for the next several months.
(Here in Alaska, we’re looking at dry skin through at least March. Yikes!)
Oils and Supplements for Dry Skin on Dogs
Let’s start with how you can help your dog from within by adding certain oils and supplements to her kibble, like I did for Eira.
Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil
This stuff is a winter must-have. In the few days since Eira has started taking it, I’ve noticed a lot less dry skin beneath that silky black fur. Plus, she loves it! Check out this video of Eira enjoying her Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil:
It’s super easy to give to dogs and they’re almost guaranteed to love it because it’s pure salmon oil, rich in flavor and Omega-3s to keep your dog’s skin soft and smooth during the driest winter days.
Eira licks her chops when she sees the bottle of Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil come out of the cabinet!
As its brand name suggests, Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is sourced in cold Alaskan waters. Salmon are big around here and I’ve seen them swimming even in the tiniest creeks in summertime. The company only sources wild salmon, which of course aren’t raised in salmon farms that use hormones and antibiotics that could taint the oil. The Omega fatty acids are therefore easy for dogs to metabolize. The salmon oil is particularly marketed for help with relieving dry, itchy skin.
That’s what I’m talking about. And that’s what Eira’s howling about! (She rarely barks, but she howls all the time.)
All you have to do is add the requisite amount of pumps (usually 1-3) to your dog’s kibble, and voila! Your dog smells the aroma of fresh wild salmon and comes hither to eat and get a healthier coat and moist skin.
If your itchy, dry-skinned dog doesn’t care for other dry skin supplements, try this tasty salmon oil.
Ultra Oil for Dogs With Hempseed, Anchovy, and Sardine Oils
Does your dog hate salmon, or do you want a less expensive alternative to Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil? This ultra oil is a blend of anchovy, sardine, and hempseed oils, which together give your dog Omega 3, 6, and 9 to battle dry skin. Unlike the salmon oil, this one doesn’t have a fishy smell. If you or someone in your household is pregnant, you know that certain smells can really knock you down about a thousand notches. This would be a perfect time to alleviate your dog’s dry skin with scentless Ultra Oil instead of salmon oil.
Like the salmon oil, the fish for the Ultra Oil are wild-caught, and all you have to do is add a few pumps to your dog’s kibble. The brand adds that because anchovies and sardines are some of the lowest fish on the food chain, they ingest fewer other fish and insects (and toxins) than salmon.
Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Premium Itch Relief Supplement for Dogs
Marketed as a supplement to relieve itchy skin due to dry conditions, this skin-relief choice from Veterinary Formula Clinical Care comes in soft-chew form. This can be easier for you to work with than oil, if you don’t care to get your hands greasy. But don’t think it’s not full of great, skin-soothing oils, because it is: coconut oil, salmon oil, sunflower oil, and flaxseed oil, to be exact. In addition, these chews contain turmeric curcumin, honey, and Vitamin E. All of these ingredients work together to keep your dog’s skin from getting scaly and flaky, and they also help your pup’s fur shine.
Now that we’ve named three diverse and fantastic supplements, let’s move to what you can apply directly to your dog’s dry skin.
JP Pet Oatmeal Shampoo for Dry Skin
You should continue to bathe your dog during winter months in a safe, warm space like a dog wash or at the groomer’s. (If you’re unsure of how often you should bathe your dog, check out this article.) But if it’s wintertime and your dog has dry skin, don’t stick with any old shampoo. You need a shampoo that will work together with whatever internal supplements you’ve chosen to give your dog. Something like JP Pet’s Oatmeal Shampoo for Dry Skin.
I love JP Pet’s dog shampoos, and this oatmeal shampoo is a favorite because of how much it helps Eira’s dry skin in the wintertime. It also helps her fur stay soft, shiny, and smelling sweet.
Back when I was pregnant with my son, I had that classic third-trimester symptom: super itchy skin on my belly. There was not much I could safely take, supplement-wise, but I ordered a special oatmeal shampoo to use in the shower and to my surprise, it worked really well to help alleviate the itching and dryness. Even better than lotion, which I’d been slathering on my skin.
So don’t discount the work that a quality shampoo can do. In addition to oatmeal, this shampoo contains aloe, chamomile, and sweet almond oil (which lends the shampoo an absolutely dreamy fragrance). And best of all, proceeds from each sale go toward various animal and wildlife rescue organizations.
Because the shampoo is highly concentrated, you don’t have to use much to clean your pup’s entire body. This is how much I use for Eira!
You can purchase this soap in foaming spray form or in a 1-gallon bottle — or just in the regular 16-ounce bottle Eira has — at the link below.
Warren London Hydrating Butter for Dry Skin
It’s not easy to reach most dogs’ skin. Hidden beneath all that fur, it’s sometimes hard to target skin directly for treatment. This hydrating butter is genius in that it works as a leave-in conditioner that you rub into your dog’s coat and don’t rinse out. Because it stays on your dog, it essentially functions as a dog lotion for dry skin while also hydrating fur in the process. Worried about your dog leaving greasy spots all over the house? Don’t be! Even though this is a hydrating butter, it’s non-oily.
Made with guava and mangosteen extract, the smell is light and fruity and you’ll often see results in as little as a day. This is perfect for dry skin that’s so bad it’s developed into flaky dandruff.
Even better, try this: give your dog a salmon oil supplement, wash her every couple of weeks with JP Pet Oatmeal shampoo, and then rub Warren London Hydrating Butter into her skin every night. You’re sure to see huge improvements in your dog’s dry skin.
A real plus with Warren London’s Hydrating Butter is that it’s super affordable. You can purchase a gallon of it if your dog is really struggling, or just begin with an 8-ounce bottle.
Natural Dog Company Skin Soother
For an all-natural skin butter, try this skin soother from the Natural Dog Company. Its ingredients are: organic cocoa butter, organic sweet almond oil, organic coconut oil, organic safflower oil, candelilla wax, sea buckthorn oil, lavender, chamomile, frankincense, myrrh, vetiver, natouli, benzoin, and natural Vitamin E. Handcrafted in small-town Texas, USA, this is the perfect soothing butter for your dog with dry skin — especially if your pup has allergies to a lot of the chemicals found in other dog skin soothing products.
Now that you’ve taken a look at the best dry skin solutions for dogs, you’re ready for the coldest, driest, windiest weather ever.
Laura Ojeda Melchor grew up with two beloved German shepherd dogs—Clancy and her daughter, Bella. From the time her family brought Clancy home, Laura took on the duty of pooper-scooper and potty trainer. As a teenager Laura helped her mother care for Clancy during her pregnancy. She still remembers fondly the exciting, frigid winter night when the seven special puppies were born. Laura kept the youngest puppy—Bella—and potty trained her, too. She taught Bella important commands, took her for long walks, and spent hours throwing tennis balls for her.
In November, Laura brought home a sweet new puppy, Eira Violet. Eira is half Alaskan malamute and half German shepherd, and Laura loves her deeply. She chose not to use a crate to potty train Eira and was pleasantly surprised at the results. She now has a sweet, energetic dog who always uses the potty outside, plays well with Laura’s toddler, and enjoys long family walks in beautiful Alaska. If you were to meet Eira, she’d bound up to you with a wagging tail and get you running around the yard with her in no time.